Parables are the stories Jesus tells throughout the Gospels, stories that can be humorous, that can punch us in the gut, that often teach a moral lesson, that reveal something about the Kingdom of God. Most specifically, the parables reveal to us who Jesus is. Keeping this in mind, the parable of the Good Samaritan, which we heard last week, impels us to show mercy and compassion on the poor, the marginalized, and the suffering; it reminds us that our neighbor is everyone, not just those with whom we agree or like.
Perhaps, however, we can read the parable of the Good Samaritan as our story of redemption: we are the person beaten, robbed, and left for dead, and Jesus is the Good Samaritan. This parable reveals what Jesus Christ has done for us—this is how many of the Church Fathers interpreted this parable. We're told a man goes on a journey from Jerusalem, symbolic of the heavenly city, to Jericho, often painted throughout Scripture as the city of sin: we've fallen from the way we ought to be to where we are, less than the best version of ourselves. The man is beaten, robbed, left for dead, and is helpless: the devil has robbed us of our health and our destiny for heaven, and there is nothing we can do on our own to heal and save ourselves. A priest and a Levite walk by and do nothing (always a stark reminder to me): no work of ours—political, economic, psychological—will make our condition better.
Then along comes a Samaritan, people hated by the Israelites. Samaritans had married the pagan captors of Israel; they were considered “mixed”: into our helpless condition comes Jesus Christ, the Son of God, a “foreigner” from heaven, both divine and human. The Good Samaritan stoops down from his animal: Jesus lowers Himself to the point of death, death on the cross. The Good Samaritan pours oil and wine into the wounds of the man: Jesus gives us the wine and oil of the sacraments. The Good Samaritan takes the man to an inn and pays for him: Jesus redeems us, pays for us, and takes us to the safety of the Church.
The mystery of our salvation and redemption, revealed in this parable of the Good Samaritan, is relived out at every Mass. As mentioned last week, I would like to renew a daily Mass schedule so that we may experience the healing, strength, and mercy of Christ in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith, and the celebration of Mass will help strengthen our parishes. Rather than simply imposing a schedule on everyone, I want to hear your thoughts about a weekday Mass schedule.
One last note: Bishop Thomas will be at the 6pm Mass at Resurrection and the 11am Mass at St. Mary's next weekend for my installation as pastor of both parishes. There will be a reception after each of these Masses, and the Bishop wants to meet as many parishioners as possible. I hope you can make it. Have a great week!